With commercial airplanes often carrying 200 to 400 passengers, interior cabins are a haven for infection-causing germs. Whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, you’ll be exposed to many other passengers, some of whom could be sick. The thought of catching a cold or flu shouldn’t discourage you from flying, however. By following these five tips, you can lower your risk of catching an infectious illness when flying.
#1) Carry a Travel Pillow and Blanket
If you’re planning to catch some shuteye when flying, consider bringing your own pillow and blanket. While most commercial airlines offer them to passengers, they could carry germs. If you bring your own travel pillow and blanket, on the other hand, you can rest assured knowing they haven’t been used by other passengers.
#2) Ask for Bottled Water
Avoid drinking tap water when flying and, instead, ask for bottled water. Tap water is more likely to contain infection-causing germs than bottled water. Granted, you may have to pay for bottled water, but doing so could mean the difference between staying healthy and getting sick.
#3) Get Plenty of Sleep Before and After Your Flight
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting adequate sleep. When preparing for a flight, you might struggle to get a solid seven or eight hours of sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can take a toll on your body’s immune system. When you sleep, your body’s immune system will work overtime to defend against foreign invaders, including germs. Therefore, you need to get plenty of sleep both before and after your flight. Otherwise, germs could overtake your body’s immune system to the point where it causes infection.
#4) Avoid Touching Dirty Surfaces
Try to avoid touching dirty surfaces inside the cabin. Walls and counters in lavoratories, for instance, are often riddled with germs. If you’re going to use the lavatory, try to avoid touching the walls and counters. Even the windows in the cabin contain germs, however. If you’re worried about catching an infectious illness, it’s best to avoid touching any surface that other passengers may have touched, including the windows.
#5) Carry (and Use) Hand Sanitizer
Finally, you can reduce your risk of infectious illness when flying by bringing a bottle of hand sanitizer. Assuming it’s alcohol based, it will kill most infection-causing germs on contact. If you recently touched a germ-covered surface, you can sanitize your hands using this product. Just remember to bring it in a travel-sized container that’s 3.4 ounces or less so that it will make it through security.